1. How did you first get interested in/involved in body modification?
My brother got his first tattoo when he was 16, it was an eight ball on his calf, about the size of a 50 cent piece. that was when that shit was hot, * balls on anything you found at the mall, I thought it was stupid. My sister got her first tattoo when she was 16, I can't even remember what it was. something horrible because all my sisters tattoos suck, most of them she got from sleeping with the artist. I hated tattoos never wanted them. I use to pierce myself to freak people out, mostly my septum and put a safety pin in it to make it look gross. When I was 18 I got my nipples pierced on my birthday. Being in Montana that was way extreme, so I did it. That is what got me started hanging out in a tattoo shop. I got my first tattoo at 19, and more piercings. By the time I was 20 I wanted to work in a tattoo shop, haven't really left sense.
2. What are your thoughts on what “body modification” actually means?
Body Modification is exactly what it is. Losing weight is modifying your body, especially gastric bypass surgery, liposuction, basically any plastic surgery, is a body modification. Removing hair or skin pigments and blemishes are body modifications. More people in this country look at body modifications as an negative thing just attached to tattoos and piercings, but if you got your daughter a nose job because the bridge of her nose made it hook and she wasn't suitable to find a husband at an young age, that's body modification. Hate to break it to you America, but even when you get morbidly obese, you modified your body out of it's natural state.
3. What is your place/position in the body modification world? ie artist, collector, etc. Please explain
I am a Body Piercer and a member of the Association of Professional Piercers. The APP is a non profit organization that holds high standard of what the piercing industry should be like, with safety, legislation and education. I wouldn't say I'm a tattoo collector because I'm way too picky about who tattoos me.
4. Why is body modification important to you?
Body Modification isn't that important to me, Piercing is, but like I said before, the term is a lot broader than people let in. As for tattoo and piercings, I love it. I think being heavily tattooed should still be an underground taboo thing. I didn't get into this because I wanted to fin into society, I got into it because I fit in outside of societies standards. When people want being tattooed to be something that is good and cool bums me out. This is my lifestyle, why are the people that shunned me before trying to take it over, don't try and change it now because you want it to be ok.
5. What is the WORST negative response you’ve received in regard to your modifications?
Every day of my life I get a bad response, I've gotten, "Gross" or "Faggot" or "what is wrong with you" I've heard it all. I don't really care about that stuff, it just makes me know I am not a part of them and they aren't a part of me, I am happy the way I live and those people will never feel free because they are confined by rules.
6. What do you have to say to people who look at modification and don’t understand it/judge it unfairly/don’t recognize its importance/say it’s “disgusting” and “pointless?”
A simple thing such as ear lobe stretching has been going on longer than their precious Jesus has been a character of the best selling fairy tale ever written. Ignorance is bliss, you can't force someone to see out of their box if their eyes are covered with false ideals. Saying nothing is better than saying anything. They have a right to fell however they want just like I have a right to have my body modifications.
7. How do you deal with discrimination against your mods? For example, my family and some of my friends are very unaccepting of the few modifications I have, but I try my best to explain to them what modification means to me and get the point across to them. Sometimes I get too upset and just ignore them. How do you handle discrimination?
Let them be, before I had visible tattoos and piercings, I was still an outcast. Anger is just a reaction of not fitting in or being shunned. I just remember I'm not them, I am me, and me is all I have, they don't matter. I live my life and I own it, anyone that feels negatively towards me probably has nothing to do with me and I never have to deal with on a daily basis. As for family, I had to just accept them as them and in turn it stopped me from being upset, some I stopped talking to as a whole. My brother had a huge problem with it, I told him I'm an adult, I am living my life and I am happy, he got it, we understand each other now I think. He realized I grew up and I wasn't his little brother anymore, I was my own man. I realized he was just looking out for me and he just didn't understand that that could make someone happy. if it takes talking to them individually and without being mad just tell them it's ok and you are fine and happy and just ask them to support your happiness, not the tattoos, but you just being you and living life making decisions that make you feel good regardless of how they think you should live. It's not there life and they have to understand that and you still love them no matter what their life decisions are. That will probably change everything.
8. What is your favorite modification(s) that you have?
I am working on a full Body suit. Now that tattoos are on TV and a lot more pople thing they are cool, being heavily tattooed like I am sets me apart from them. I am still different from the excepted.
9. What was your first mod?
Nipple piercings at a 14 gauge with captive bead rings, one with a black ball one with a white ball, I stretched them to a 10 gauge 6 months later and they have been at a 10 ever since.
10. What do you do in your spare time/hobbies? Explain hobbies both related to and unrelated to body modification.
I paint, and draw. I ride my bicycle a lot, its one of my favorite things, I write stand up material but don't perform it. I do crossfit. I love to travel.
11. Did you have any jobs prior to entering the body modification world? Do you hold any other jobs currently in addition to this one?
Before I was a piercer I worked on the railroad as a gandy dancer. I have no other job and refuse to do anything else except work in the piercing industry. It is truly my dream job!
12. How do you think the body modification world and outsiders’ PERCEPTION of the body modification world has changed?
It's on TV now, so they have this idea of all tattoo shops being like TV. Other than that, nothing has really changed, just more people have visible tattoos and people have to be ok with it or it's discrimination. The world is too PC and yes, that is a bad thing. People still hate, just because they aren't open about it doesn't mean they aren't doing it.
13. Fun fact(s) that you want to share about yourself.
I don't think writing anything here gives it justice to how fun I really em, come see me if you'd like to meet me, or email me firstname.lastname@example.org